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· Considered to be the most ancient of the ethical theories
· The idea of virtue is referred to in Homers' `The Odyssey'
· Homer views Virtues a the great ethical act of achieving
one's potential as a human being
· Aristotle in his book, Nichomachen Ethics, explained that to
be moral was to develop positive traits or `virtues'
· Negative traits are `vice', which develop negative
· V.E concentrates on what is the right thing to do and how to
be a better person
· It's interested in defining good people and the qualities
needed to be good
"The magnanimous man, since he deserved the most, must be good in
the highest degree; for the better man always deserves more, and
the best man most" - Nichomachen Ethics…read more

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· When we do something, we do it to gain an end
· The ultimate end is the greatest good and is to be found in
intellectual virtue
· To achieve this, we must practice to improve our virtue
· There are moral virtues which are qualities of character
· We cultivate these by habit
· There are 12 virtues, but they fall between 2 vices that of
excess and of deficiency
· All virtues lay at the mid-point between the two vices, this
is the golden mean…read more

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Vice of deficiency Virtuous mean Vice of excess
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindesness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of ambition Right ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendliness Obsequiousness
Ironical deprecation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Witty Buffoonery
Shamelesness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just resentment Spitefulness…read more

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· Every action is directed towards an aim
· There are superior and subordinate aims
· Ultimately everything is subordinate to the supreme good;
happiness or eudemonia
· People have different types of happiness
· Aristotle believed contemplation was the supreme good
· Virtues may differ from city to city but the supreme
happiness is one for community, not just for the individual…read more

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· Looks at the writings of the Ancient Greeks that told of
great heroes e.g. Hercules which show a vision of morality
· The epic story describes a man in term of his actions
· His identity is defined by the way he behaves
· He thinks morality has suffered a catastrophe
· Identifies the virtues that have been picked up and passed
on; from Aristotle and Christianity etc
· We are left with two types of people those who;
Speak Stand
from outside
within the traditiona
tradition l thinking "We have- vey
of largely, if not entirely
thinking ­ lost our
comprehension, both
theoretical and…read more

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